Columbia, S.C. – Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena was an afternoon for points. The No.1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks put up 90 of them against The Arkansas Razorbacks in front of a packed house of 13, 349, beating them 92-46.
Aliyah Boston had a program record-setting 73rd double-double with 13 points and 14 boards.
Boston, who tied the school mark set by Sheila Foster from 1979-82 at Vanderbilt this past Thursday, came out fast with seven points and three rebounds in the first quarter. She had 11 points and six rebounds at the break.
She needs 13 more to past the great Sylvia Fowles SEC mark of 86.
Foster was also in the stands to cheer the senior from St. Thomas who knocked her down to No. 2 on the list.
Eleven different Gamecock players contributed scoring for Carolina. Senior Zia Cooke led all scorers with 24 points, including shooting 80 percent from beyond the arc. The Gamecocks (20-0, 8-0) jumped ahead early in the game against the Razorbacks (17-5, 4-2).
“Mentally tough, mentally strong. Those are the separators for Aliyah,” coach Dawn Staley said.
Cooke, the team’s top scorer this season, had 19 points by the break as South Carolina opened things up in the second quarter by outscoring Arkansas 28-7 to lead 53-24.
Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina’s 6-7 backup showed she is a force to be reckoned with ended the game with 12 points and tied her career best with 16 rebounds.
One of the biggest takeaways from the game is the dominance displayed by Aliyah Boston. She was taken out to a standing ovation in the 3rd quarter.
“The things that she’s been able to accomplish, the winning percentage with her in the lineup, she doesn’t make you forget about the ones that started the success here, but you can certainly argue she has a pretty darn big impact on the history books,” Staley said. “If she brings us home another national championship, she’ll be in a class by herself.”
Boston clinched the record with three rebounds on one offensive possession that she finished with a bucket. She was taken out with 1:18 left in the third quarter to a loud ovation from the crowd — and South Carolina cruising 73-33.
“Coming into college, I didn’t really know this was a record,” Boston said. “To do it, is very exciting because, wow, who’d have thought.”
Boston’s coach Staley has watched the 6-foot-5 All-American stay engaged and focused despite junk defenses with three or four players aiming to limit her production. Very little has worked the past four seasons.
“Mentally tough, mentally strong. Those are the separators for Aliyah, Boston takes in the information and knows in the end she’ll get the better of things in nearly every game.” Staley said.
Samar Spencer had 15 points to lead the Razorbacks.
Arkansas was out rebounded by the ‘Gamecocks 74-17 overall. The Gamecocks +57 rebounding margin set a new school record, with the 74 overall rebounds sets a school record for an SEC conference game.
“Hey, y’all got room for another statue?” asked Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors, referring to the statue of South Carolina great A’ja Wilson outside the arena.
Gamecocks will travel to Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide (15-4, 4-2)